The answer is chemistry. Lots and lots of chemistry.
Check out some of that chemistry right here....then click the link at the bottom of the page to grab YOUR copy of Then & Now, book 3 in the This & That Series.
“You’ve never tried my scrambled eggs.” He smiled confidently. “Harold’s are good. But mine? They’ll change your life.”
“What do you put in them? I mean, if I am going to see the face of God in scrambled eggs, I want to know what makes them so good.”
“Wait,” Mason said, taking another bite. “Weren’t we talking about you being out of practice, sexually speaking?”
“Yes. But wait.” I waved my hands. “Go back just a sentence or two. What makes your eggs life changing?”
“Cream cheese. The whipped kind.”
“I see.” I held out a bite of crepes for him. “Try these. They’re amazing.”
Mason closed his eyes as he chewed. “Oh dang. Those are good. Is that loganberry?”
“I’m impressed you know that.” I took a bite of my own. “And the cream cheese trick.”
“My grandmother used to cook them that way.” He shrugged. “I learned a few tricks. Not many, though. Because I still can’t make brownies from a box.”
“It’s an acquired skill,” I admitted, giving him another bite. “These crepes are orgasmic. Do you realize that?”
“Well, they’d better be, since you’re insistent on taking those baby steps.” He plucked up a chunk of mushroom from the omelet container. “Hey, speaking of orgasms, what makes you think you’re out of practice? Don’t they say it’s like riding a bike?”
I rolled my eyes. “Shut up.”
“Come on,” he said with a grin. “I don’t think you give yourself enough credit, Candace. You’re beautiful, smart, active, and sexy as hell. I think being alone for two years has shattered your confidence.”
“Maybe so.” I used a napkin to wipe at a string of cheese that had attached itself to the edge of his lip, and he grabbed my hand. My pulse spiked. “Maybe I just need to jump back on the bike? Fall a few times. Scrape up my knees and elbows until I figure out how to get my… my…”
Kissing the inside of my wrist, Mason whispered, “Mojo?”
I cupped the side of his face, relishing the way his whiskers prickled my palm. “Yeah. My mojo. My confidence. My skills.”
“You know you can practice on me anytime, right?”
I let my hand drop and reached for another bite of waffle. “Says the twenty-six year old.”
Growling, Mason grabbed me around the waist, and rested me back on the couch cushions. His body was suspended above mine, as I lay there with waffle poised on the end of my fork. “Hey!” I laughed.
He bit the waffle right off the fork and chewed it proudly. “Why do you always do that?”
“Do what?” I wriggled to be released, but he wasn’t budging. Not that I minded.
“Turn it into an age thing?” He frowned down at me. “Why are you so hung up on my age?”
I stopped moving and just looked him in the eyes. They were beautiful. The same shade of blue as his pool. “Because you’re too young for me.”
“Who says?” Mason took the fork out of my hand, and set it on the table. Then he lowered himself gently so that he was lying on top of me on the couch. “I thought dating someone younger was a status symbol for women these days. Like a right of passage or something. They make movies about it.”
“I know, but… I’ve never been interested in being a cougar.”
He brushed a piece of my hair back from my face and looked at my lips. “What about now?”
I bit my lip. “I’m seriously considering getting back on that bike.”
He seemed to like that answer, because his mouth pulled back into a slow smile. “So…” he whispered, brushing the end of his nose against my cheekbone. My heart chugged. “In all actuality, I’m doing a public service by helping to reacquaint you with your skills. Right?”
I couldn’t help but laugh. “If that’s how you want to look at it.”
He shifted, bringing our chests together tightly. My skin flared like the couch beneath us was in flames. “Then, Mrs. Chang, I am at your service.”
“You live to serve.”
Without even thinking about it first, I wound my arms around his neck, pulling Mason’s entire body flush against mine. He was so solid and strong.
His eyes dropped to my mouth. “It’s my duty to serve.”
He licked his lips. “Uh huh.”
“Mason?” I whispered. My whole body tingled with anticipation. This was it. I’d spent the day flirting yesterday, now it was time for a kiss. This was the natural progression of things. This is a good thing.
I looked at his mouth. “How long are we going to keep making cop puns before you kiss me?”
His eyes were heavy lidded. “Are you giving me permission?”
I opened my mouth, but nothing came out. I was too turned on. And nervous. But, mostly turned on. I just nodded instead.
“Well, then…” His words faded, and he brought his mouth to mine.
The touch was as soft as silk, and light enough that I might have missed it had his tongue not tickled the inner edge of my upper lips ever so slightly. Heat spread from his body to mine, as I sank into the kiss. Swirls of light and color danced behind my closed eyelids, and my heart pounded in my ears. Mason’s lips closed down on mine with the gentleness of someone building a card house that could topple in at any time.
Maybe he thought I was fragile. Maybe he was right. But I’d waited two years and two months for someone to kiss me again, and this was undoubtedly worth the wait.
Then—just as softly as it had started—it ended. Mason pulled his lips from mine, and gazed at me with soft eyes, the air between us thick with haze. I just lay there, breathing deeply, blinking up at him.
“Baby steps,” he whispered.
I nodded. Every nerve ending in my body was like a hot wire. I’d forgotten how good a kiss could feel. How even a kiss as small and simple as that one could reach into a person’s chest and breathe life back into their soul.
“Thank you.” My voice was barely audible over the sound of my heart beat.
“Anytime, ma’am.” He pressed a quick kiss to my forehead, then sat up. “Now that I’ve had something to eat, I’m beat.”
I propped myself up on my elbows. There were dark circles under his eyes, and he looked ready to topple over. “I suppose our date’s over now.”
“Yeah.” His eyes searched mine, and the air between us crackled. “Probably for the best.”
“All right.” I swallowed back all of the random, insecure questions I suddenly had for him. Are you ticked we stopped at just one kiss? Are you coming back? Will we go out again? Do you really like me, or is this some sort of older woman fetish you’ve got happening?
He smiled, and crinkles appeared in the corners of his eyes. “I’m headed home to bed, then.”
I’ve got a perfectly good bed upstairs.
I pressed my lips together. I wasn’t ready for that. Not yet. But good grief… it was tempting. The broad planes of his chest were visible through the paper-thin cotton of his undershirt, and I had to ball my hands into fists to keep from touching his pecs.
“Your leftovers,” I said, standing up and gathering up the half empty containers. “Let me—”
“Save them.” He took my hand. “We’ll finish them after my next shift.”
“Okay.” I faced him with no idea what to say next.
After a minute of silence that seemed to stretch for way too long, Mason cupped my cheek. His touch sent thrilled shivers skating up and down my spine. “Goodnight, Candace.”
I smiled. The day was just beginning, but for him, it was coming to an end. “Good morning, Mason.”
He grinned, and the dimple in his cheek sank in. “Oh, and by the way… I’m always here if you want more practice.”